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No enforcement against United Airlines for violating DOT Overbooking rule

No enforcement against United Airlines for violating DOT Overbooking rule

eTurboNews -

Despite concluding that United Airlines violated multiple provisions of the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) oversells rule, the DOT has declined to pursue an enforcement action against the airline.

The Dr. Dao incident garnered national media attention after one of Dao’s fellow passengers released a graphic video showing airport police dragging Dao down the aisle in order to forcibly remove Dao, a paying customer, from United Flight 3411.

Although the incident placed United in the spotlight and prompted a national discussion of unacceptable airline practices, United will not be facing official sanctions for its handling of the April incident.

According to the DOT, United’s conduct violated two provisions of its oversells rule. First, United failed to provide David Dao and his wife Teresa Dao with a written oversells notice to explain the situation as required by law. Second, United involuntarily bumped another Flight 3411 passenger off the aircraft without providing appropriate compensation at the time and place of denied boarding, or within 24 hours if an immediate tender is not practical.

Compensation was tendered ten days after the incident. It took the DOT 107 days to respond to Flyers Rights’ Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Request despite the FOIA request clearly identifying the letter by date, sender, recipient, and subject matter.

The two-page letter, dated May 12, 2017, included a very curious line where the investigation concludes that United’s violation of the involuntary bumping rule “was related to” Dr. Dao needing to seek medical treatment. Yet, United Airlines has escaped punishment or formal enforcement action.

Paul Hudson, President of consumer rights advocate Flyers Rights, noted “It should be clear that removing Dao from Flight 3411 in such a brutal manner and without legal notice was egregious in every sense of the word. For the Department of Transportation to conclude that United Airlines’ conduct did not warrant an enforcement action is a dereliction of duty.”

Flyers Rights submitted a FOIA Request for the May 12, 2017  letter on May 16, 2017. The U.S. Department of Transportation released the letter to Flyers Rights on September 1, 2017.

FlyersRights.org is the largest nonprofit airline passenger organization. It operates a hotline for passengers at 877-FLYERS6, publishes a weekly newsletter, serves on the FAA Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee and maintains an office in Washington DC for public education and advocacy. See www.flyersrights.org. Its President, Paul Hudson, has been a national advocate for passenger rights interests for over 25 years.

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